La Festa Italiana is Back!

After the event was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, La Festa is returning and will be held Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday, Sept. 3-6, on Courthouse Square, Scranton. Hours are Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The festival committee is collaborating with the Lackawanna County Commissioners and the Mayor of Scranton’s Office to plan the event. COVID vaccines, masks and hand sanitizers will be available at no charge.

A variety of vendors will be offering Italian food and other items, and continuous live entertainment will be featured. There is no admission charge. This year’s presenting sponsor is the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Also returning this year are The Bronx Wanderers, La Festa’s main act on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

The Bronx Wanderers deliver a “Back to the Future” high-octane ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s rock n’ roll experience featuring the infectious energy of the music that skyrocketed classics like “American Graffiti,” “Happy Days” and “A Bronx Tale” to immediate success. 

Among the many other acts that will perform are The Cameos, comedian Uncle Floyd Vivino, Frank Sinatra tribute (Chris DiMattio), Dean Martin Tribute (Andy DiMino from Las Vegas), a Connie Francis tribute featuring Nikki Rasmus, Gene Dempsey Orchestra, Old Friends, Flaxy Morgan, Popstar Drive, Mike Lanza, The Luongo Brothers, The Wanabees, Daddy-O and the Sax Maniax, The Exact Change, Gerard Mayer Band, the Mark Montella Project featuring Erin Malloy, La Festa’s principal Italian tenor Michael Castaldo, Ballet Theatre of Scranton performing Italian folk street dances, plus jugglers, magicians, street acts, favorite local bands and dance groups.

The annual Mass in Italian will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, located one block from the festival site. The Mass will also be televised live by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.

Fireworks presented by Dickson City Hyundai will be displayed on Sunday night.

For more information, the complete entertainment schedule and updates, visit the festival Web site at:

La Festa Italiana will literally hit the ground running with the Ninth Annual Captain James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m. The race is being sponsored by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO, the Italian-American service organization, and proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania Christmas Party and West Scranton High School Scholarship Program. Pre-registration deadline is Sept. 1 and can be done at   

La Festa Italiana Committee presents plaque to County Commissioners



The LaFesta Committee presented a commemorative color drawing of the festival grounds to the Lackawanna County Commissioners in recognition of their support for the past 40 years of preserving this annual Italian-American heritage tradition.

Participants at the ceremony were, from left: Joseph Castrogiovanni, LaFesta treasurer; Commissioner Jerry Notarianni, Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley and Christopher DiMattio, LaFesta president.

Just a Thought…

By Maureen Hart

Honestly, if one more person tells me there is nothing to do around here, I might blow a gasket. If it’s true we are a wasteland, why can’t I find the time to fit in everything that I would like to see and do?

macbeth-pic-just-a-thoughtAs a board member of the Scranton Shakespeare Festival, which wrapped up its fifth season this past July, I know how frustrating it is to hear people complain. In partnership with the University of Scranton, we offer free professional theater ranging from Shakespeare (of course) to original plays (one of which moved to an Off-Broadway theater last fall), musicals, operettas, and modern plays. In our five years you might have seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Pirates of Penzance, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Robin Hood: The Musical, and many, many more. (Look it up at or like us on Facebook.) 

You can bring your whole family without paying a penny. SSF fulfills the vision of former West Sider and University of Scranton grad, Michael Bradshaw Flynn. Now based in New York, this young man, who is still in his twenties, devotes a great deal of time to this theatrical venture every summer, when he isn’t appearing in or directing Off-Broadway shows, or working with some of the time names in the business such as Julianne Moore, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, F. Murray Abraham and Rupert Grint. He is directing an original show at this moment, and at the same time  is assistant to famed Broadway director Jack O’Brien as they mount a revival of The Front Page, opening soon. Whew!

In only its second year, Scranton Fringe Festival promises a wide range of up to 50 performances in various venues from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3. Its first year was a huge hit and saw over 3,000 people racing around from one performance to another. This festival  is the brainchild of Elizabeth Bohan and Conor O’Brien–who has his hands in many artistic ventures in the area, and even presented his own version of Hamlet at the Cultural Center last year.  Go  to to see a long list of events planned for the fringe-festivaljust-a-thoughtfour-day extravaganza, including a piece called Relationship written  by Joe McGurl of Dunmore. Also look up while you’re at it.

And there is also Ghostlight Productions based at South Abington Park which also offers free Shakespeare in the park every June. I have always enjoyed this troupe of players founded by the delightful and multi-talented husband-and-wife team Jonathan and Rachel Luann Strayer. They just presented an innovative version of Julius Caesar for this year’s audiences. Past shows have included Much Ado About Nothing, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Twelfth Night. Ghostlight also will present The Poe Asylum at this year’s Fringe Festival.

Every August, there is the Scranton Jazz Festival, featuring top musicians–I can’t even tell you how many acts have played the Electric City under the auspices of this dedicated organization. Plan to put it on your calendar next year.

And First Friday is a very popular event which presents art and entertainment throughout the City of Scranton — many people mark this on their monthly calendar.

In July, there is Arts on the Square, featuring over 150 vendors wrapped around Courthouse Square in Downtown Scranton, along with two stages of live music, interactive art, food, and a farmers market.

With La Festa Italiana just over, now it is time for the fall season to launch, and it’s chock full of entertaining things to do, starting with the Dearly Departed Players annual Dunmore Cemetery Tour slated this year for October 2 and 9 at 2 p.m. Thousands of people attend this informative and entertaining event each year, walking through the grounds and enjoying theatrical vignettes about some of the people interred there. Again, admission to this event is free. See a related story and photos elsewhere in this issue of The Dunmorean.


Broadway Theatre League is touting one of its best seasons ever –you can buy season tickets and see Once, Cinderella, Pippin, Jersey Boys and Rent, at a fraction of what you would pay in New York City. You can also buy individual seats for these wonderful offerings. Go to Ticketmaster to order seats.

Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces will burst on the scene on October 15 with entertainment for the entire family–everything from bagpipers to a German oompah band, pumpkin decorating, Halloween style activities, and much more. For the full line-up go to

Don’t forget our wonderful Northeastern Philharmonic, which presents varied concerts throughout the year, culminating in its Fourth of July Spectacular in the summer at Scranton’s Courthouse Square and at Kirby Park in Kingston. Also planned is a focus on Beethoven, along with Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Copland, Bach,  Dvorak and Mozart’s Requiem, along with  a Pops series including Wicked Divas, A Night at the Oscars, and Piano Men (saluting Elton John and Billy Joel music).

Community theater has always been strong in Northeastern Pennsylvania, including Actor’s Circle ( presenting The House of Blue Leaves Sept. 15-25), Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre (doing Rock of Ages Sept. 9-25),  Music Box Dinner Playhouse  in Kingston (doing La Cage Aux Folles Sept. 9-25 and also No Sex Please We’re British and A Christmas Story this season), Diva Theatre at the Olde Brick Theatre, and New Vintage Ensemble. Tickets are inexpensive and the fun factor is high.

By the time winter arrives, we’ll be thinking about the free Nutcracker production by Ballet Theatre of Scranton at Marywood University and ringing in the New Year downtown.

For non-theatergoers, throughout the year there is Railriders baseball, Penguins hockey, high school football, and a multitude of racing events. Outdoor enthusiasts don’t lack for places to climb, kayak, swim, fish, hunt and enjoy nature.

Have you visited the Everhart Museum lately? Or the Anthracite Museum? Taken the Lackawanna Coal Mine tour? Poked around the Catlin House, home base of the Lackawanna Historical Society? Have you taken a train at Steamtown and visited its many exhibits on the history of railroading in Scranton? The Architectural Society often offers tours of notable sites in the the area, and the beautiful Scranton Cultural Center opens its doors for tours by the public. The Electric City Trolley Museum hosts Railfest every year (just finished on Sept. 3 and 4).

This doesn’t even count all the community events –church and fire company picnics, county fairs, university theater  and music productions, church oratorios, and barbershop quartets there a Barbershop on Broadway concert in Honesdale in October if you are interested.)

Do I attend all of these things? Of course not–I can’t possibly get to everything — but I never complain that there is just nothing to do around here either.

Here is a contact list for some of the organizations mentioned above. If I have forgotten your group, let me know and I’ll give them a plug in the future!

Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre: (570) 823-1875

Music Box Dinner Playhouse: and (570) 283-2195

Actors Circle at Providence Playhouse: and (570) 342-9707

New Vintage Ensemble:

Diva Theatre:  (570) 209-7766 and

Ballet Theatre of Scranton: (570) 347-2867 and

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Railriders (570) 969-2255 and

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (570) 208-7367 and

Everhart Museum:  and (570) 346-7186

Anthracite Museum: www.anthracite and (570) 963-4804

Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour: (570) 238-7245

Architectural Heritage Association:

Lackawanna History Society: and (570) 344-3841

Scranton Cultural Center: and (570) 346-4609

Steamtown National Historic Site: (570) 340-5200

Scranton Iron Furnaces: and (570) 963-4804

La Festa Italiana: and (570) 348-4921

Electric City Trolley Museum: (570) 963-6590 and